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Vatican takes steps to prevent sex abuse of children

A report published by the Vatican yesterday told of its "dismay and betrayal" at the "sinful and criminal acts" committed by some Catholic clergy during decades of child-abuse scandals in Ireland, and recommended that Irish trainee priests should take child-protection classes to try to avoid such abuses in future.

The Vatican released a summary of findings of its year-long investigation ordered by Pope Benedict XVI after the uproar over widespread child abuse by priests and allegations of cover-ups. It is the first time the Holy See has endorsed the Church's efforts to fight sex abuse by clergy.

The Vatican said its investigators saw "how much the shortcomings of the past" caused an inadequate reaction "not least on the part of various bishops and religious superiors". It expressed a "great sense of pain and shame" that young people were abused by priests and nuns "while those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively".

The report included a number of recommendations to improve the preparation of priests for a life of celibacy, to overcome a loss of trust by lay people in their pastors, and "to ensure that the tragedy of the abuse of minors would not be repeated". The recommendations include new procedures to vet priests on entrance to seminaries, child-protection classes for all trainee Catholic clergy in Ireland, and an overhaul of the way the nation's dioceses are structured.

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